Trump’s West Wing and the Hill

Trump faces a challenge similar to the one Ronald Reagan confronted and had only partial success in overcoming: namely, that of finding enough good people to take the reins of government. Without the president discovering better new talent, the usual suspect will quickly return: the ones who gave us the Iraq War and whose economics led to the Great Recession.

Source: Donald Trump’s Triumph | The American Conservative

Yesterday, my old friend and schoolmate Howard Bliss asked me if I could beg a single boon of the President-Elect, what would that be?

I said, simply: “Appoint an absolutely stellar cabinet. Then listen to them.”

Dan McCarthy over at the American Conservative points out that this is going to be a tough job. Elected as an outsider, Trump cannot resort to using the usual suspects who will simply revive failed policies of the past. At the same time, he needs people who can help him navigate the frustrating complexities of Capitol Hill and the government bureaucracy. This task will test every ounce of Trump’s executive abilities, and his appointments will tell us much.

A relatively weak White House is an opportunity for Congress to restore a balance of power between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. They must absolutely do it. But they can only do so if they are well led and determined – individually and as a group – to do so.

This is where Republicans and Democrats can find common ground, and should work together. Congress is on a long, meandering path toward becoming a rubber-stamp legislature, Constitutional guarantees notwithstanding. That trend needs to be arrested, and now is the moment in history to do so.

The Trump Era Dawns

On the global stage Trump’s populism and nationalism makes him very much a man of his times, with parallels to figures as diverse as Marine Le Pen, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and of course Vladimir Putin. But in the American context he is like nothing we have seen before — a shatterer of all norms and conventional assumptions, a man more likely to fail catastrophically than other presidents, more constitutionally dangerous than other presidents, but also more likely to carry us into a different political era, a post-neoliberal, post-end-of-history politics, than any other imaginable president.

Source: The Trump Era Dawns

We walk a very narrow bridge with this President.

This is not the time to give up, tune out, and go back to The Way We Lived Before. The Trump Era demands a new kind of American Citizenship, one that is constantly informed, regularly engaged, and frequently activist.

This president and the Congress are going to need to hear from us, and we’re going to need to be more visible, more thoughtful, and more persuasive than ever to get our points across.

Welcome to the Trump Era.

Now get busy.

The New (Old) Ground Game

Pollsters, consultants, and data-crunchers: if you want to find the biggest losers from last night, go look in the mirror.

The “ground game” is not what you thought it was.

Data is not king. Polls do not win elections. Numbers do not deliver the White House. For better or worse, we are back to a style of campaigning that predates all of that.

And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

When this Election was Lost

Hillary Clinton is going to take a lot of Hell for losing the election. Many of her supporters will be tempted to blame the loss on Bernie Sanders for undermining her. Or on the FBI. Or on the Russians.

The truth is, she lost the election because the Democratic Party had become ossified around a coalition of educated urban progressives and special interests that had nothing to do with what the majority of America cared about.

Until Democrats and Progressives understand that by abandoning the South, abandoning Labor, and talking smack about a place they call “Flyover Country” they tossed this election long before Hillary declared, they are doomed to repeat their mistake.

We were all warned. The Tea Party in 2010 was the a shot across the bow that should have altered our reality. But the Left – and, too often, this blog – continued to behave toward this giant electoral rump like it was an aberration rather than a harbinger.

After last night, we all need to do some very real soul searching. The nation has voted on what we believe is important. And they told us we were wrong.

We can either decide that the nation has gone crazy, or we can probe the very real possibility that too many of us have lost touch with the throbbing heart of the nation.

The End of the Old Parties, and the Birth of the New

For the past year, we have been talking about how this election year is going to tear the Republican Party into pieces. It was time, and many of you looked on in fascination as Donald Trump swung the wrecking ball that brought the rotting edifice down.

But if there is one thing clear after election night, it is that the Democratic Party has collapsed. The result was an embarrassment to a political establishment that curried favor with coastal urban progressives, forgetting its roots in labor and the working class. The Clinton Alignment, which saved the Democratic Party from ignominy in the early 1990s, is no longer able to sustain the party of Wilson and FDR.

But there is more to this than either the Democrats or the GOP.

For the first time since 1856, we have the opportunity to build one or more political parties utterly separate from the current two party organizations. We can build 21st Century political parties constructed around the things we all care about.

And we’d better do that soon. Because the alternative is chaos, and the empowerment of leaders who serve themselves, not the people.